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Preparation

Design your life to make time for meditation.

The goal of this training is to help you improve your life with meditation.

You'll learn 8 techniques that you can use for the rest of your life. The more wholly you concentrate on learning these techniques, the more you will understand how to use them, and the more you will witness benefits in your life.

It is essential to create time in your life for meditation, just like you make time to shower and brush your teeth. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we all have the time to shower and brush our teeth. We all have the time to meditate, too!

Meditation is an excellent 'primer' for the day - it helps you get into a state of calm concentration. For this reason, you're recommended to clear 30 minutes in the morning for your meditation practice. Before looking at your phone, engaging with any kind of media, or letting your attention get sold to advertisers - just sit and meditate.

If you find it difficult to clear 30 minutes - think about what you need to eliminate. Practice addition by subtraction: subtract unessential things from your schedule, and time for the essentials is naturally added to your schedule.

You'll also find that when you clear these 30 minutes at the beginning of the day, your ability to concentrate with even-mindedness improves throughout the rest of the day. Your mental efficiency will naturally improve with daily practice. For example, tasks that used to require 1 hour, may only require 20 minutes with enhanced concentration.

It's also good to meditate before sleeping. You are recommended to do this without a timer, which will enhance your intuition and help you disconnect from electronics which block melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Exercising willpower to practice any of these meditation technique before bed will help you with your morning practice.

Of course you can always meditate spontaneously. While spontaneous meditation is not going to give you the same benefits as consistent daily meditation - together they work wonders. Listen to your intuition.

In summary:

  • Do your best to commit to a consistent time that you meditate everyday.
  • Make it a routine and ritual that you enjoy - like a sacred shower.
  • Practice for at least 30 minutes per day during this training.
  • It is best to clear 30 minutes at the start of your day.
  • It is helpful to practice without a timer before bed.
Use this assessment to measure how your life improves with this training.

At the beginning and end of the training, you are reminded you to fill this assessment out. Simply type in the first number that comes up when you think about scoring each of the 8 dimensions of life listed below. Estimated completion time: 32 seconds.

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Day 1

Exercise: practice 30 minutes of breath awareness.

Click here to open/close the training instructions.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

Observe your breath with undivided concentration. Breathe in and out through your nose, and simply witness the sensation of breath flowing in and out through your nose. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensation of breath.

Imagine, it's a game that you are playing with your breath. From this game, you'll improve your concentration skills.

Just practice for 30 minutes, and remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training supplement: the relationship between concentration, meditation, and enlightenment.

Enlightenment is a loaded word. Yet, it's the ultimate goal of yoga.

For thousands of years, yogis, spiritual scientists have been studying our inner environment: consciousness.

What if there is a scientific process that you can use to experience enlightened states of consciousness? There is. Let's simply refer to these as greater levels of awareness.

Concentration leads to meditation, meditation leads to greater levels of awareness. More advanced meditation techniques lead to more advanced levels of awareness.

Let's start with the basics.

The techniques you're learning are based on the 8 limbs of yoga. Imagine your body and mind is one metaphorical tree whose roots are nourished when you treat others and yourself with loving kindness. The energy from these roots flows up, through the trunk, towards the branches with careful attention to your posture, breath, and introspective awareness. The tree grows fruit and the cycle of life continues, naturally, with effortless effort - call it perfect inner discipline.

Perfect inner discipline? You don't need to meditate on a mountain to find it.

It starts with concentration. "When the attention of the mind-stuff is directed in a single stream to a chosen field, without being dissipated and thus distracted–that is concentration." (Yoga Sutras III.1.)

Concentration leads to meditation. "When the cognition is entirely concentrated in that field thus becoming its own field of observation–that is, when the observer is observed–it is meditation."(Yoga Sutras III.2.)

Meditation leads to illumination. "When the field of observation and the observing intelligence merge as if their own form is abolished and the total intelligence shines as the sole substance or reality, there is pure choiceless awareness without the divided identity of the observer and the observed–that is illumination." (Yoga Sutras III.3.)

When these three happen together there is perfect inner discipline. This can happen during what is commonly known as the practice of meditation, and during any other form of physical or mental activity. When such inner discipline is mastered, there arrises the vision that is wisdom. This vision (or the eye of intuition, or the eye of wisdom, or the inner light) can be directed to many fields of observation. (Yoga Sutras III.4-6)

Is illumination (the unfoldment of greater levels of awareness) reserved for monks and mystics, or can anyone learn techniques to experience illumination? You decide.

It's at least worth working towards, isn't it? According to yoga science and philosophy, we have the right to do the work but we do not have the right to the fruits of our labor.

Imagine you're a farmer growing fruit trees. Storms come, as storms do, and storms have the same right to take fruits as you do. But, you are intelligent, and you can concentrate on doing the work to make your farm storm-proof without attachment to the fruit. You can enjoy the process, regardless of the outcome, and simply enjoy the fruit when it comes.

Remember, too, that you don't need to intellectually understand how a seed grows into a tree, and how a tree grows fruit, to tend your farm. Just practice these techniques everyday, with playfulness and discipline, and witness greater levels of awareness unfold naturally.

Concentration leads to meditation, meditation leads to greater levels of awareness. More advanced meditation techniques lead to more advanced levels of awareness. This process is aided by your commitment to practice daily, and be unattached to the outcome.

Day 2

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of body awareness

Only click here to open the training instructions after completing the Day 1 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into body awareness:

Concentrate on the sensations in your body, scanning from head to toe. Notice the sensations at the surface of your skin; you may notice the feeling of air moving, perspiration, itching, tingling - painful or pleasant sensations.

Simply scan the body. Create rhythm with your awareness. Scanning from the top of your head through your face, neck, one arm and then the other, your front body, back body, one leg and foot, then the other, leg and foot, and back up.

Notice the sensations deeper inside of your body, the muscles, bones, even the cells.

You may find some parts of your body are more difficult to sense, they may feel numb. That's ok. Slow down your awareness as you scan those parts, and concentrate deeper on those parts that feel numb.

If your attention wanders, simply come back into concentrating on the sensations flowing through body.

Remember that all physical sensations, painful or pleasant, are temporary. Rather than avoiding painful sensations, accept and allow the painful sensations to come and go. Rather than clinging to pleasant sensations, accept and allow pleasant sensations to come and go. Be the witness of these temporary sensations as they come and go.

Simply scan the body. Create rhythm with your awareness. Concentrate on the sensations in your body.

Witness the impermanent nature of all physical sensations.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: set a clear intention before meditation.

Before beginning any of these meditation techniques, it is helpful to connect your conscious and unconscious mind with a clear intention. You can do this by simply whispering words that help you feel more calm and empowered.

It is best to trust your own intuition, your inner guidance, on what needs to be said. When we speak words of intention out loud, it gives us an opportunity to practice transmuting thoughts into matter – a very practical skill.

An example:

I ask for guidance and receive guidance;

To think thoughts to serve the highest good;

Take action to serve the highest good;

Evolve beliefs, habits, routines, skills, and relationships to serve the highest good;

Work to serve the highest good, play to serve the highest good;

Rest to serve the highest good, rejuvenate to service the highest good;

Meditate to serve the highest good.

Call it prayer, affirmation, invocation, therapeutic poetry, or whatever else you wish. At a minimum, it helps you feel more calm and empowered. Simply set your intention and speak it out loud before entering into meditation. If it may feel awkward or uncomfortable, and that's ok. Find the words that help you feel most calm and empowered, and express them.

Day 3

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of thought awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 2 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into thought awareness:

Be the witness of thoughts circulating through your mind. Without judging any of the thoughts as right or wrong, or trying to stop yourself from thinking. Simply witness - observe - thoughts come and go.

You might notice certain thought patterns. You might notice yourself thinking about thinking about thinking about thinking about your thoughts. In other words, you may find yourself enter into infinite thought loops. That's ok.

During this technique, dismiss all sensations in the body and even forget about the breath. Rest assured, you will continue breathing and your body will still be here after the meditation. If your mind wanders into the realm of sensations, gently bring it back into observing the realm of thought. All thoughts are perfectly acceptable.

Be the silent witness of your own thoughts.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: create a more supportive meditation environment

One of the keys to maintaining a daily practice is maintaining a space in your home for daily practice. It simply makes it easier to meditate when you dedicate space to it.

You don't need an entire room, just enough space for you to sit is perfect. Keep this space clear, you want to make sure it stays open for you to meditate in. That way, if you feel the call for spontaneous meditation, your space is there for you. When you're at the end of a long day of work, or the crack of dawn, your meditation space is there for you.

If you prefer to meditate on the ground, make sure you have a cushion that supports your hips to rest above your knees; and if you prefer to meditate on a chair, make sure to sit with your feet resting completely on the floor.

The ideal space will be quiet, comfortable, and inviting. This is your sacred space to go inside. Remember, you are the master of your environment. You deserve to have a space where you can sit and meditate in peace anytime.

Day 4

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of emotion awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 3 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into emotional awareness:

Just as you witnessed your thoughts, now witness the emotions that flow through you moment to moment.

What does it mean to witness the emotions?

Every emotion has a certain energetic charge that circulates through your body and mind. We can label these energetic charges based on their frequency in the spectrum of emotions, just like we label colors in the spectrum of light.

Disgust. Anger. Fear. Sadness. Enjoyment. These are considered 5 Universal Emotions in the human experience.

Think of this technique like juggling two balls: thought and sensation. As thoughts and sensations circulate, notice which emotion they represent. For example, one thought might say "I hope that I get everything on my to do list done today," and that associated sensation might feel like a tingling tightness in the chest: fear. Then another thought might say "I am enjoying this technique," and a sensation might feel like warmth in the chest and face: happy.

The process of observing thought and sensation can happen simultaneously, in the same moment.

Simply concentrate on being present with the energetic charge that's alive in the moment - what emotion is it?

Tune into the intensity, too. Are you feeling gratitude, are you feeling awe, or are you feeling bliss? Be precise. If your mind wanders, bring it back to simply witness the emotion flowing through you, without trying to change it.

Label the emotion and let it go. You might notice cycles like: peace, sadness, confused, happy, grateful, peace, sadness. That's ok. Whatever emotion is coming up, label it, and let it go.

Allow yourself to sit with uncomfortable emotions, and witness them pass like clouds on a stormy day.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: be conscious of the posture that you enter the meditation with.

Think about the posture in your face for a moment. When you smile, you send signals to the brain that release 'happy hormones.' Go ahead and try it now - guide your lips to curl up and put a cheesy grin on your face.

Feel yourself happy, alive, learning new techniques that unlock greater levels of awareness.

Now, let's play with the posture of your spine. Slouch your spine, and notice how you feel more tired and heavy. Feel that feeling just for a moment. Then straighten your spine, and let your shoulders relax back and down.

Notice how you feel more awake and energized when you straighten your spine and relax your shoulders back and down. You're able to concentrate deeper when you feel more awake and energized, isn't that so?

Whenever you notice yourself slouching, play with this helpful queue:

Imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky.


Slouching not only affects our mood, when done habitually, it puts harmful pressure on our internal organs. When you imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky, you take pressure off of your internal organs, and you take kinks out of the hose (your spine) so that energy flows more abundantly through your brain and body.

Correcting your posture helps you think more clearly, make better decisions, improve your concentration, deepen your meditation, and express more vitality.

Make it a habit to check your posture before meditation, and, more broadly, be mindful of your posture during your waking hours. After reading this, you'll notice at some point that you're slouching while you work, eat, read, or do any other activity.

Standing in line at the grocery store? Imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky.

Sitting on the floor? Imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky.

Sitting on a chair? Imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky.

You get it... Imagine a string pulling up through the crown of your head up to the sky.

Day 5

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of energy awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 4 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

With your eyes closed, or half-way open, concentrate your eye gaze up and to the center of your forehead. Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into energy awareness:

Visualize light shining from above the crown of your head down through your spine, into the earth, and circling around your body to enter through the crown of your head again, circling in an infinite loop.

At the same time, visualize light flowing up from the earth through your spine into an infinite field of energy above the crown of your head, circling around your body to enter the earth again, circling in an infinite loop.

Imagine your body expanding through this exercise to include the earth below, and the cosmos above.

Being able to hold onto any image is not important. Simply sit with the experience of energy expanding in all directions, within and without you, with your eye gaze firmly concentrated up and to the center of your forehead.

If you find your eyes fluttering, stop trying to visualize anything, and steady your eye gaze up and to the center.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: use single-pointed eye gaze while you meditate.

When we focus our eyes in different angles, we activate different parts of the brain.

Whether you realize it or not, most people look up and to the left when remembering something visual, up and to the right when constructing a visual image, directly to the left when remembering sounds, directly to the right when constructing sounds, down and to the left when processing internal dialogue, down and to the right when focused on feeling.

Imagine what color your first car was, and you'll notice your eyes go up and to the side. Using eye gaze to activate different parts of the brain is innately human.

To access deep meditative states, calming focus your eye gaze up and to the center. Your eyes can be fully closed, or halfway open, as long as your gaze is up and to the center

If you notice your eyes fluttering, your work is to allow the gaze to relax and be steady. With consistent daily practice you will be able to hold this gaze more easily and steadily, and deepen your meditation as a result. This technique enhances our intuition, and with consistent practice you will notice more synchronicities in your life; i.e. you think about someone who you haven't spoken to in a long time, and they call you 1 minute later.

Use single-pointed eye gaze while you meditate, and unlock greater levels of awareness.

Day 6

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of joyful vision awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 5 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

With your eyes closed, or half-way open, concentrate your eye gaze up and to the center of your forehead. Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into joyful vision awareness:

Concentrate your mind to witness some possible future experiences where you feel joy. The time-frame is irrelevant.

Allow yourself to be guided by the feeling of joy. Use your willpower, and concentration, to make the feeling of joy more and more intense. Simply see what you see and feel what you feel. When you are rooted deeply into the feeling of joy, or when the final bell rings, it's time to 'clear the screen' - stop visualizing and just sit with the feeling of joy. As if you just watched a documentary of your future, it's already happened, and it's a completely joyful experience.

What is important is the feeling, and the willpower that you exercise to feel joy independent of any external stimulus.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: open with a breathing technique to release restless energy.

Use this double breathing technique before meditation, or anytime you need to release restless energy. You'll feel a that being in a state of calm concentration is easier after this.

Inhale twice through the nose with one quick and one slow breath for the count of 6. Tense all the muscles and clench the fists. Hold for the count of two. Exhale twice through the mouth with one quick and one slow breath (it will sound like "huh-huhhh" – as if you're fogging a mirror) and relax all the muscles with the exhale. Practice 3-5 times before setting your intention, before meditation.

Day 7

Exercise: practice 15 minutes of breath awareness + 15 minutes of appreciative awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 6 exercise.

Turn your phone on airplane mode. Set a 30 minute timer (use Insight Timer for a soothing ending bell).

With your eyes closed, or half-way open, concentrate your eye gaze up and to the center of your forehead. Practice breath awareness for the first 15 minutes. After the interval bell, transition fluidly into appreciative awareness:

Simply concentrate on the feeling of gratitude. You can think about all the things in your life that trigger you to feel gratitude, or you can think about nothing at all, and just surrender into the feeling of gratitude.

Be with the feeling of gratitude. Center your mind on thoughts that help you feel grateful.

You can always think about the basic needs that are being met (the air you're breathing, the clean water you have, the food you eat, etc.), your higher-level needs like your Self-actualization, or anything in between.

Nothing is too big or too small to concentrate on with appreciative awareness.

Close with the awareness of feeling gratitude. Sit with this feeling as long as you wish.

And remember, it's a game. Play. Have fun!

Training Supplement: integrate appreciative awareness into your daily life, beyond meditation.

It is helpful to use appreciative awareness to close your meditation practice.

For maximum benefit: practice appreciative awareness as soon as you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed, and also at the end of your daily meditation practice. As you begin to install the habit of waking up with appreciative awareness, you will need to actively remember to do this for some time. With consistent effort, it becomes automatic.

This technique helps you become more magnetic to the experiences that fill you with gratitude. The technical term for what's going on inside of you is heart-brain coherence, and there is fascinating research being done about the quantum physics at play here.

It is relatively simple: when you set a clear intention, using your brain, to be in a state of gratitude, and you concentrate on feeling gratitude in your heart – you produce a powerful electromagnetic field that attracts people and experiences into your life that resonate with this feeling of gratitude. Your brain sends an electrical current out into the quantum field, and your heart creates a magnetic current that pulls in the experience towards you.

When you practice appreciative awareness daily, you create a virtuous cycle of finding more experiences that trigger gratitude in you everyday. You will both perceive the experiences in your life with a more optimistic perspective, and attract more gratifying experiences.

Day 8

Exercise: practice 30 minutes of transcendent awareness

Only open this after you've completed the Day 7 exercise.

Before practicing transcendent awareness, choose a mantra that resonates with you.

Traditionally, in the olden days, there would have been a guru-disciple relationship where a guru would give a disciple a secret mantra that couldn't be shared. Now is a time for old traditions to transform, and you are empowered to choose for yourself.

There are 3 mantras that are recommended for you to choose now, and use daily for at least 8 weeks consecutively. You can use this mantra for much longer than 8 weeks, this number is the minimum recommendation. The structure of your brain will improve from this practice.

If you are familiar with other mantras, you may choose any mantra of your choice. If you are needing a suggestion, choose one of these three mantras.

Sat Nam (rough translation: True Identity)

So Hum (rough translation: I am That)

Wahe Guru (rough translation: Wonderful Transformer of darkness to light)

Trust your intuition to choose a mantra that feels most attractive for you now.

The technique is simple: concentrate on mentally repeating one syllable of the mantra with the inflow and outflow breath. For example: Inhale 'Sat' exhale 'Nam,' or inhale 'So' exhale 'Hum,' or inhale 'Wahe' exhale 'Guru.'

To optimize your practice, remember to set a clear intention before practicing this technique (discussed in the training supplement from day 2). Use single pointed eye gaze while practicing (discussed in the training supplement from day 5). Open with a breathing technique to release restless energy (discussed in the training from day 6).

Concentrate wholly on syncing the breath with the mantra, with each inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, it's ok, simply allow the mantra to guide your mind back to meditation.

Close your practice with appreciative awareness.

So, go ahead, turn your phone on airplane mode, and set a 30 minute timer - now without any interval bell. Remember, as much as it's a game - it's also essential work.

Work. Play. Enjoy!

Training Supplement: stay committed to long term daily practice.

Studies show that long term meditators, who practice for 30 minutes per day over the course of 8 weeks, improve the structure of their brain. Some of these benefits include enhanced sensory function, working memory, and executive decision making.

You now have a set of techniques that you can use everyday to improve your life. Use them everyday. You are recommended to practice for at least 30 minutes per day, but should you choose to meditate for 15 or 20 minutes, you are better off as compared to skipping a day.

You see that meditation can be fun and playful, and it can also be challenging inner work. Make it a priority to meditate everyday and you will see your life continue to improve.

Mantra meditation in particular, what you practice in transcendent awareness, contains a power to help us to transform limitations that manifest as physical, mental, and spiritual disease. As you practice diligently for 8 weeks consecutively, limiting beliefs will dissolve into the nothingness from which they came, and you will unlock greater levels of awareness.

You can meditate everyday, just like you brush your teeth and take a shower. It can be fun. You are empowered by these techniques. It is time well spent to use them. Stay committed to long term practice and witness your life improve. Continue to engage with the community through Serenity Portal - share insights and ask questions as they come up.

You are blessed for a blissful journey.

Use this assessment again to measure how your life improved with this training.

Simply type in the first number that comes up when you think about scoring each of the 8 dimensions of life listed below. Estimated completion time: 32 seconds.

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